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PROFORMA Franchise Complaints

PROFORMA Franchise Complaints include excessive franchisor control over the franchisee’s business, vendor kickbacks to the franchisor, coercive and manipulative franchise practices, and underhanded tactics to prevent Proforma franchisees from exiting the system.

( Proforma is a promotional products and printing franchise founded by Gregory P. Muzzillo in 1978, and run by Greg Muzzillo and his wife, Vera Muzzillo. 

Notable shareholders include Dr. Peter Buck and Fred DeLuca, the founders of Doctor’s Associates Inc., the franchisor of the SUBWAY franchise system.

Are you familiar with the Proforma franchise opportunity? Please share a comment below.

According to Proforma franchise marketing materials, “In 1986, [Greg Muzzillo] developed the Proforma franchise model – a network of independent distributors working together to build marketing clout and strong supplier relationships.”

Proforma franchise marketing states that a Proforma franchise can make your dreams come true:

“Make your dreams come true…” States the Proforma franchise website.

“It’s all about success. You want to own and build a successful business. Only Proforma, who is consistently ranked as one of the best US and Canadian franchise opportunities, can provide you with the tools to succeed in business like no other.”

The Proforma franchise website offers entrepreneurial freedom, stating:  “We know that success isn’t only about the money you earn. Success is also about running your business the way you want. Only Proforma’s innovative business model offers that kind of success.”

Only Proforma…Offers the most services to support your dreams and success.

“When you partner with Proforma, you partner with the industry’s leader. Join the company that provides you with the advantages to help you rise above the competition and take your success to the next level.”

Proforma Franchise Complaints Say It’s a Nightmare, Not a Dream

Proforma franchise complaints received by UnhappyFranchisee.Com claim that what at first appears like a path to the American Dream eventually turns into a nightmare for many franchise owners.

Here’s one complaint we received regarding PFG, the franchisor of Proforma:

PFG has ruined many a people in its “free franchise” crock of watered down confidence schemes.

PFG is one of the few that gets everyone on the backside. Most confidence schemes take the marks up front. PFG has figured out how to get them for the long haul. I’m sure it wasn’t planned, but it worked out that way.

…They take kickbacks from their hundreds of printing, promotional and apparel vendors promising the franchisee that they get privileged pricing… They hand franchises to people out the side door when a deal too-good-to-be-true shows up and they don’t want to share.

Their “Co-CEOs” live in Detroit and have absolutely nothing to do with the day-to-day. Their president (Brian Smith) is one of the biggest “whipping boys” that ever walked the face of the earth. He’ll talk logic and then sell the franchisees down the river when his boss lays down the gauntlet. Good guy, bad guy to perfection.

How does it work?

  1. They invite you to a “discovery” day – it’s the beginning of what they refer to as “due diligence”
  2. They give you disclosures and an agreement that is all one-sided in their favor
  3. They can change their mind at any time and you have no choice in the matter (just life most UFOCs or FDD as they now call it)
  4. They sign you up to a minimum 10 year agreement = the naive are signing 20 year agreements
  5. They give you a franchise that is of nearly no value – that’s why it’s free
  6. They control all of your money collections – if you take money, they dump you
  7. Here’s the kicker – they take 10% of all of your GROSS – they don’t give a damn about your profits – you can lose money and they’ll take their cut anyway
  8. They have their hands down every vendor’s pants. All of their vendors are in a 2% kickback scheme.
  9. If you have a large client, they’ll force you into doing business with their vendors (due to kickbacks) – you cannot push back or they’ll dump you and give your client to another franchise or they’ll simply take it and hand it off to one of their employees who suddenly “chooses to become a franchisee”.
  10. This has happened with accounts as large as the United Way and many other Fortune 500 companies
  11. The business is one of high overhead. The average franchise makes about 28% net profit because in printing, promotional and apparel, the product is nearly 60% of the deal. This only leaves 40% before overhead. Proforma takes all the proceeds, requires that they pay themselves, then they pay the vendors and then last is the franchisee. It’s indentured servitude and nothing more.
  12. If you make them angry, they take your money and then they tell the vendors to come after you! It’s another cute little “out” in the contract.
  13. A non-compete also keeps you around and from keeping your accounts if you part ways.

Be careful – Nothing of value is FREE!

To be fair, several of these complaints could apply to most, if not all, franchise opportunities (one-sided contracts, royalties on gross sales as opposed to profits, strict post-term non-compete covenants). 

We have received positive feedback from a franchisee who owns or owned other franchises and reports a positive experience with Proforma.

However, franchisees of systems that control the billing, collect the revenue and then remit a portion to the franchisee often complain that their franchisor has much more control over their business than the typical franchise. 

We have also received complaints regarding exorbitant fees required to exit the system, and unprofessional and bullying behavior by senior management.



5 thoughts on “PROFORMA Franchise Complaints

  • Brooke

    This company is evil! I have family, father and son, who were involved with proforma 15 years ago. The father transfered his franchise with proforma to his son. Proforma never could figure out the paperwork. Proforma sued the son for a transfer fee, not sure how much but in the tens of thousands. The son couldn’t afford a lawyer or to show up for court in another state of proforma’s choosing so he lost by default. For the last 15 years proforma has been going after father and son, charging 20% interest, putting leans on anything and everything. This company is evil!!!

  • If you are considering this business opportunity, turn around and run the other way!
    SR. management and the owners will not protect your accounts. Proforma has an advisory counsel that has no power to make any changes on company policies. Greg Muzzillo does not follow company policies, franchise agreements and it’s own moral clauses. Threats and bullying are used if you buck the leadership team. Having been there for many years, we made a successful business. We were not disgruntled nor did want to smear this company just because we were unhappy. We WERE happy overall until Greg Muzzillo and president (who happens to be a scumbag layer) turned on our franchise. We would always hear rumors of what the Proforma corporation was and had done to other owners, however, the owners who knew the details of the lying and deceit were and still are afraid to discuss for fear of retaliation from the executive staff and the owner Greg Muzzillo! The back end fees are as other have stated. This company/leadership team is crooked and cannot be trusted. Do not sign with this company – you are making a deal with the devil who has no problem cannibalizing his own for his profit and gain.

  • Good grief these comments. I’ve been with Proforma for 15 years I came into proforma with virtually zero industry experience. Proforma, it’s model, it’s executive team, network of owners, educated me and we recently have billed out 3 million in sales.

    People simply do not want to show up to proforma events, training, networking , and frankly do not want to work. It’s a pandemic in America nobody wants to talk about.

    Greg and Vera, the founders care greatly about their franchisees. Most competitors sold their franchisees out by selling out to large investors, took the money and run. Greg and Vera don’t need the money or the hassle but yet they stay, invested over 15 million of their own money into new and Innovative technology. We just had 2 record breaking months in sales and it is largely due to the technology.

    Some folks think you join proforma and bam you are rich with millions and sales. News flash….you still gotta work folks. But with proforma….you can sure get from A to B a lot faster.

    These cowardly claims are laughable and unwarranted and I don’t have to be a little Karen and hide and whine. My name is Steve flaughers and I’m the owner of Proforma 3rd Degree Marketing in Canton Ohio. I worked hard and grew my franchise from nothing to 3 million in 2021. Proforma is second to none.. period.


    Hi Steven:
    Thanks for your comment and your insights.
    My name is Sean Kelly and I’ll have been in franchising 35 years… mostly on the franchisor side or as a consultant to franchisors.
    Never been a franchisee.

    While the complaint of franchisees buying a franchise and not being willing to do what’s necessary to make it work is commonly made, I find that it’s rarely true.
    In those cases that it IS the case, the responsibility is usually traceable back to the use of franchise brokers or salespeople who will plant unrealistic expectations and fail to screen candidates simply to harvest commissions or a poor screening program by the franchisor.

    The buck still stops with the franchisor. They can’t promote “no experience necessary” and the fact that they “award” franchises (as opposed to sell them) then complain about inexperience and lazy or absentee owners. It takes work and the discipline to pass on a sale, but you can screen for work ethic and a track record of follow through and success. A few will slip through or sometimes a franchisee will have a life change, but it’s the franchisor’s job to enforce their standards and help those who aren’t up to the task or not a good fit to sell their franchise and exit gracefully.

    I’m not discounting the fact that it’s tough for franchisor’s to be selective. Undercapitalized franchisees will lie about their financial situation, great candidates sometimes are secretly buying a job for an unemployable son or daughter, or people change in the course of ten year terms. There are a limited number of great candidates and the pool’s getting smaller and more competitive. That’s why good franchisors should be more vocal about predatory franchises with high failure rates pulling good franchisees into bad opportunities where even the best will fail. And the best way to determine the good from the bad is by calculating the turnover rate… including those that exit the system through transfers as well as closures.

  • You either work for a competitor and this is a bad attempt to smear Proforma (franchisor) or maybe you really are not that good at the industry. Maybe bored and just a good old fashioned troll?

    The fact that you are pointing fingers is really what’s wrong with the world. Nobody wants to hold themselves accountable for their actions and or failures. Always someone else’s fault.

    I came in with no experience and 6.2 million in sales last year, i’d say the Proforma system works just fine. Try hard work. it’s a new concept to many.

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